Food Law News - EU - 2002

EP News Report, 17 April 2002

HYGIENE - Environment Committee backs stricter EU control of salmonella

Stricter measures to combat salmonella and other food-borne zoonotic agents (a 'zoonosis' being a disease spread from animals to humans) were the subject of a codecision report by Marit Paulsen (ELDR, S), adopted by the Environment Committee on Wednesday.

While welcoming the proposed regulation, which aims to set up control programmes throughout the EU, the committee adopted a number of amendments to broaden its scope. Firstly, MEPs called for curbs on the use of antibiotics to tackle the growing problem of antibiotic resistance in various types of bacteriological zoonoses and all salmonella serotypes in food-producing animals.

Secondly, they criticised the Commission's intention, in practice, to set up control programmes only for poultry and eggs even though salmonella is common in other food-producing animals. Amendments were therefore adopted extending the measures to include slaughter pigs, sheep, calves and other cattle.

Mrs Paulsen referred to the spread of the totally resistant serotype Salmonella typhimurium DT 104, which was a result of the large-scale use of antibiotics required to maintain intensive veal calf-rearing. DT 104 is also found in some intensively reared pigs.

The committee adopted a further amendment aimed at preventing a Member State that has no approved control programme within a stipulated period from selling certain products on the internal market. This amendment seeks to ensure that negligent producers do not enjoy a financial advantage over those who comply with the rules.

A second report by Mrs Paulsen, on a proposed directive on the monitoring of zoonoses and zoonotic agents, was also adopted. The aim of this Commission proposal is to prevent the spread of zoonoses through better detection.

The committee adopted amendments to emphasise the importance of monitoring antimicrobial resistance and to make it clearer that the whole food chain must be covered, including feed and breeding animals. It also wants the directive to include the monitoring of plant products, as the number of people infected through such products is increasing.

Finally, although the proposed directive already seeks to ensure that all data is collected and processed in a uniform manner, the committee goes further by insisting on the importance of the 'comparability' of data.

These two reports (codecision procedure, first reading) are scheduled for plenary debate at the May I session in Strasbourg.

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